Parliament Mossi Raz chairman of IFfEA
New Zionism, Knesset Member Mossi Raz Chairman of the Israeli Forum for Ecological Art “We shall clothe you with a cloak of concrete and cement” is the well-known Zionist ethos on which we were all raised. Build, build, and once again, build – this is the true Zionism. Based on our upbringing, Concrete is our best friend (another settlement, another road, another factory – no matter what the cost). We have almost forgotten the following lines of the aforementioned song: “and roll out gardens, carpets at your feet.” Slowly and systematically we have built our beautiful country, one of the densest in the world, through overuse of concrete and an appalling waste of land. We hardly rolled out any flowering carpets, and even less so – preserved its natural, virginal beauty. “Concrete Creek,” the marvelous combination chosen for eco-artist Shai Zakai’s spectacular project, is practically an oxymoron: Creek and concrete? And in Israel, of all places? It is virtually a vision of the end of days when “the wolf shall dwell with the lamb”. In the past one hundred years during which we engaged in overuse of concrete, we made sure we destroyed every stream and creek in the country; we transformed the Kishon and Yarkon rivers, previously known for their clean waters, into sewage streams par excellence. A stream is supposed to channel clean water into the sea, to permeate underground, and water agricultural crops along the way. Concrete, let alone concrete waste, is the exact opposite: it pollutes the water, prevents flow and contaminates the underground water. In her project, the outstanding multi-disciplinary artist Shai Zakai, who introduced the notion of eco-art into the Israeli discourse, employs art in a highly-creative, fascinating mode to convey the ecological message of the stream’s preservation. This is the true Zionism of the 21st century; continuing to build the land while preserving the environment. Blue-and-white Zionism, with a bit of green, and perhaps a little red too.